James Gray, Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire has today set out his plans to campaign to save the popular Tolsey Surgery in Sherston. This follows the announcement by Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Integrated Care Board that they plan to move the staff and services provided by the surgery to Malmesbury Primary Care Centre.
Writing in his popular weekly column James Gray laid out his plans to save the Surgery:
“I really do feel strongly about this one, and will pledge to do all I can to support the people of Sherston in saving their surgery. It’ll be a matter of a letter writing campaign; no doubt a petition; perhaps public meetings, in all of which I will gladly play a part. Then I will raise it with the Secretary of State for Health in writing; I will seek to ask an Oral Question about it during Health Questions; perhaps a 1.5 hour Westminster Hall Debate to which a Health Minister would be compelled to reply”
Writing to Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon Integrated Care Board James said:
“I was very concerned to be contacted by a large number of constituents over the weekend regarding the proposed closure of Tolsey Surgery in Sherston in my constituency. It is very disappointing that you did not see fit to contact me or my office directly to share this information and that I have found out about your plans via Facebook and correspondence.
As you will no doubt be aware Sherston’s Neighbourhood Plan which was endorsed by 97% of residents made provision for a new, modern building for the popular Tolsey Surgery. It is somewhat surprising then that you have made the decision that the Surgery should be closed, and its staff and services moved to Malmesbury Primary Care Centre. This must not happen.
It is my understanding that as well as failing to consult me about these plans you have also failed to consult both Tolsey Surgery and its users. This is disappointing as it is vital for them that they have a modern local surgery to meet their needs. It is likely that without a surgery in the village or direct transport links to Malmesbury the elderly, vulnerable and those without a car would not be able to access routine healthcare. This will exacerbate health inequalities that are unfortunately often far too prevalent in rural areas.
I understand that your present plans are only a draft, and it is my view that that is how they should remain. In the meantime, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you alongside Sherston residents, Tolsey Surgery users and Parish Councillors so you can hear the strength of feeling about your proposals in the community. I would be grateful if you could liaise with my office and Sherston Parish Council to arrange this.
I have copied this letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP so that he is aware of your plans. I have also requested a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss this matter.”
James has pledged to keep constituents updated on his campaign as it progresses in the weeks ahead.